Lenovo Yoga 7i Review: Too Much Compromise to Be Great

“The Lenovo Yoga 7i performs well for a Core i5 if you are mostly using the CPU. Boot up the GPU and you will be disappointed. "

  • Excellent productivity performance for a Core i5

  • Solid build quality

  • Just good looking

  • Good keyboard and touchpad

  • Below average graphics performance

  • Disappointing battery life

  • The display lacks contrast

Lenovo is in a marketing kick and is renaming laptops but keeping them except for updated internals. For example, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a renamed Yoga C940, and the Yoga 7i is a renamed Yoga C740. While the laptops are outwardly identical to their predecessors, the internal upgrades are significant – both received the Tiger Lake platform from Intel. For the Yoga 7i, this promises improved performance while leveraging all of the Yoga C740's other strengths (and weaknesses).

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I was given a midrange configuration of the Yoga 7i for review, a $ 899 model available at Best Buy that has an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 12GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid -State drive and a 14-inch model is equipped with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display. That makes the Yoga 7i a kind of tweener – not a cheap laptop, but not a premium either. You can bring the laptop to over $ 1,100 by upgrading to a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. On paper, however, my test configuration would be a good productivity workstation for the money. The Tiger Lake upgrade worked well for the Yoga 9i – will it do the same for the Yoga 7i?

design

Lenovo Yoga 7i designMark Coppock / Digital Trends

As mentioned earlier, the Yoga 7i is just like the Yoga C740 before it. That said, it's a more conservative design with simple lines and angles and absolutely no jewelry other than the metallic logo in the top left corner of the lid. It has been Lenovo's business for a number of years now, designing laptops that go unnoticed but are nonetheless attractive in their own simplicity. My test device was the Dark Moss color (the other option is a darker slate gray) which was a bit brown with a hint of copper to my eyes. It's subtle, but I liked it.

In terms of build quality, the Yoga 7i is worth its price – and more. Like all Lenovo mid-range or better laptops (and even the budget devices like the Yoga C640), the Yoga 7i is well built and features an aluminum chassis that for the most part does not bend, twist, or bend. I noticed only the slightest sag when I twisted the display with a lot of force, and the keyboard deck had the least amount of flex. But these are nits – you won't notice that flex in real life. One complaint is that the hinge is fairly firm and requires two hands to open, but stays in place thanks to its four 2-in-1 modes (clamshell, tent, media, and tablet).

The Yoga 7i isn't quite in the same league as some newer 2-in-1 models like the HP Specter x360 13 and the Asus ZenBook Flip S to follow the trend towards tiny bezels. It has smaller bezels on the side, but the top bezel is a bit thick and the chin is chunky by the latest standards. That makes the Yoga 7i less modern and a bit bigger than it might have been. It's not the thinnest laptop at 0.61 to 0.69 inches and a little heavy at 3.09 pounds. The Asus ZenBook 14 UX425 clamshell is much thinner at 0.54 inches and weighs just 2.58 pounds, while the Specter x360 13 is 0.67 inches thick and weighs 2.88 pounds. The Yoga 7i is comfortable to use in all modes, except in tablet mode, where it is a bit unwieldy.

Connectivity is a bit poor for a 14-inch convertible. On the left side there are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, on the right side a 3.5 mm audio jack and on the right side a USB-A 3.2 port. Unfortunately, there is no SD card reader, which will be a disappointment for creatives. Wireless connectivity is up to date with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

performance

Lenovo Yoga 7i performanceMark Coppock / Digital Trends

My Review Yoga 7i is the first one I've tested with the Tiger Lake Core i5-1135G7 CPU, and I looked forward to seeing how it compares to the Core i7s I tested. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

In Geekbench 5, 1,357 points in single-core mode and 4,246 points in multi-core mode were initially achieved. This is in line with my expectations for a laptop like the Dell XPS 13 9310 with its Core i7-1165G7. This laptop scored a more impressive 1,540 and 5432, while the even faster Acer Swift 5 scored 1,580 and 5,836.

The Yoga 7i, which encoded a 420 MB video as H.265 with Handbrake, took just under 3.5 minutes. The XPS 13 was only 6 seconds faster in normal performance mode. Even in performance mode, the XPS 13 only beat the Yoga 7i by 20 seconds. The Swift 5 was 17 seconds faster. I think that's a win for the Core i5 equipped Yoga 7i.

The results were similar in Cinebench 20. The Yoga 7i achieved 513 points in single-core mode and 1,853 points in multi-core mode, compared to the XPS 13 at 518 and 1,921 (525 and 1,988 in performance mode). The Swift 5 was a bit faster at 542 and 2,091, but the rendering of the Yoga 7i was still impressive. It actually beat the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA with its Core i7, which only managed 497 and 1,746. And it was much faster than the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with a 10th generation Core i5-1035G1 that only managed 355 and 924.

In terms of CPU, the Yoga 7i beats its weight class and is a great option for anyone looking for a laptop with solid productivity and slightly better energy efficiency. You probably won't notice the difference in real life from an 11th gen Core i7 laptop.

Play

Lenovo Yoga 7i GamingMark Coppock / Digital Trends

The graphics performance of the Yoga 7i wasn't particularly impressive, however. I was pretty surprised at how much slower the Yoga 7i was than other Intel Iris Xe laptops (admittedly, all with Core i7 CPUs). Note that the Core i5 has 80 execution units in its Intel Iris Xe graphics compared to the 96 execution units in the Core i7-1165G7, which explains a good part of the performance difference. Still, I was disappointed.

First, the Yoga 7i wasn't impressive in the 3DMark synthetic benchmark. Time Spy only got 913 points, compared to the XPS 13 at 1,647 and the Acer Swift 5 at 1,686. That's faster than an Intel Iris Plus laptop like the 10th generation Acer Swift 5 with 743 points, but not by much.

That feat led to real games. I ran Civilization VI on the Yoga 7i and it only managed 28 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and medium graphics. That is significantly slower than the Acer Swift 5 with 53 fps and even the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA with 36 fps, which I considered slower. Only the Asus ZenBook Flip S, which was dramatically overclocked, did almost as badly with 31 fps. I also ran Fortnite and the results were just as impressive. The Yoga 7i only achieved 20 fps at 1080p and high graphics, with the XPS 13 reaching 29 fps and the Swift 5 reaching 31 fps. With epic graphics, the Yoga 7i only achieved 12 fps, 10 fps less than the other comparison laptops.

I'm not sure if this level of performance is unique to the Yoga 7i or what can be expected from the Core i5-1035G7 in general. If it's the latter then you should keep this in mind when choosing your next laptop. While the graphics of the Core i7 are similar to an entry-level GPU like the Nvidia GeForce MX350, the Core i5 in the Yoga 7i is closer to the integrated graphics from Iris Plus from Intel.

display

Lenovo Yoga 7i displayMark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Yoga 7i uses a 14-inch Full HD IPS panel for its display, which in my opinion is the absolute limit for Full HD resolution. I hate pixelated text, and in fact, I prefer 4K displays even on 13.3-inch laptops – which I know will put me in the minority. From this perspective, I found the display of the Yoga 7i hardly acceptable.

I also found my colorimeter to display average in most areas. By that I mean the average for premium or near-premium laptops, which makes for a pretty nice display. For example, the brightness at 281 nits was just slightly below our preferred 300 nits, and the color width was 97% of sRGB and 75% of AdobeRGB with a DeltaE of 1.65 (accuracy of 1.0 or less) in the correct range for these The display class cannot be distinguished by the human eye and is considered to be excellent). The brightness was a bit low compared to the laptops I recently tested, most of which exceeded 300 nits (like the Acer Swift 5 with 327 nits and the XPS 13 9310 with an excellent 458 nits), but the colors were very similar.

As with the Yoga 9i, the Yoga 7i's display stayed below average in terms of contrast, scoring only 690: 1, which is a lower score for a premium laptop today, most of which approach the 1000: 1 ratio we wanted . The Swift 5 scored 950: 1 and the XPS 13 scored 1350: 1. Such low contrast can make the display look washed out, especially when showing black text on a white background (not very convenient for a writer).

Overall, I found the display usable with good colors, but I noticed the lack of contrast. I wouldn't recommend this ad to anyone who really wants their text to appear. Of course, it is also not a laptop for creative people, as it lacks the desired color width and accuracy.

The audio was impressive for a thin and light laptop, with lots of volume from upward facing speakers and no distortion. Mids and highs came through clearly, but as always the bass was missing. The Yoga 7i can't compete with the Yoga 9i's soundbar built into the hinge, but it's good enough for solo Netflix sessions. Music makes you want headphones. If you're sharing your screen, a pair of bluetooth speakers won't hurt.

Keyboard and touchpad

Lenovo Yoga 7i keyboard and touchpadMark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Yoga 7i shares the same keyboard as most yogas. Personally, I find it a little flat and the mechanism is a little mushy compared to more precise switches on laptops like the HP Specter x360 13, the Dell XPS 13, and the Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBooks. The Yoga 9i has a new set of switches that gives every key press a high level of precision – and that's missing here. The keys are big and nicely shaped, with good spacing.

The touchpad is a good size considering the available storage space and is a Microsoft Precision touchpad with a responsive and precise feel. Windows 10 multitouch gestures are well supported, but I found the click a little too loud. The touch display is responsive and precise, giving you flexibility in controlling the cursor, tapping buttons, and scrolling through long web pages. While the display supports the Lenovo Active Pen for $ 100, these accessories are not included.

Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader that is accurate and responsive. I had no problem signing in without a password.

Battery life

Lenovo Yoga 7i battery lifeMark Coppock / Digital Trends

Intel's Evo certification requires a laptop to have more than nine hours of battery life while in real-world use. I'm not sure if the Yoga 7i gets this certification, even with a battery capacity of 71 watt hours (a good amount for a 14-inch laptop), at least from my tests.

As with all of the Tiger Lake systems I have tested, I was unable to get the Yoga 7i to complete the Basemark web benchmark battery test. We use it to test the longevity under load. So instead, I used the PCMark 10 gaming test to at least compare it to other Tiger Lake systems. In this test, the Yoga 7i lasted 2.45 hours. That's significantly less than the XPS 13 9310, which lasted almost four hours, but an improvement over the Swift 5 that couldn't quite make it to two hours.

In our web browsing test, which best mimics productivity battery life, the Yoga 7i lasted just over eight hours. This is an average score and less than the nine hours it takes to be Evo certification. It's also like I've seen other Tiger Lake systems like the Acer Swift 5 running on a more power hungry Core i7. I was hoping for more from the Core i5 in the Yoga 7i.

In our video test, in which a Full HD Avengers trailer is repeated until the laptop is idle, the Yoga 7i lasted 12.5 hours. That's a bit better than the XPS 13 and an hour longer than the Swift 5, but I was still hoping for more.

Whether you work a full day with the Yoga 7i depends entirely on your workflow. If you are putting heavy stress on the CPU or GPU at all, it is unlikely that you will make it. And I'm not sure what nine hours it takes to get Evo certification – no Tiger Lake system I've tested so far can do that.

Our opinion

The Lenovo Yoga 7i shows the CPU performance of the Tiger Lake Core i5 well, but also shows its graphical weakness. It's a well-built laptop with good input options, a colorful display without contrast and a long-lasting battery.

Ultimately, the Yoga 7i has too many compromises, even at its $ 899 price point. You can do better than that.

Are there alternatives?

The HP Specter x360 13 is a strong alternative to the Yoga 7i despite the smaller display. It looks more noticeable, is much smaller and lighter, and has a much better keyboard. However, we'll have to wait to get a Tiger Lake version to see how it works.

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is another strong competitor, albeit with a smaller display. However, it is slightly smaller due to its 13.4-inch dimensions and 16:10 aspect ratio. The XPS 13 is just as well built, has a much better display, and doesn't surprisingly cost you more money.

How long it will take?

The Lenovo Yoga 7i is as well built as you can find in this price range, and it should give you years of service. The components are modern and should keep you updated as well. Remember to buy an extended warranty if the standard 1 year warranty doesn't limit it.

Should you buy it?

No, there are better options for the same or just a little more money.

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